U.S. fears tampering on N. Korea sanctions

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting about implementation of sanctions

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a United Nations Security Council meeting about implementation of sanctions

Nikki Haley, the USA ambassador to the United Nations, has accused Russian Federation of "cheating" worldwide sanctions placed on North Korea in a bid to choke Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programmes. She accused Moscow of undermining the current sanctions regime, which is aimed at cutting off funding for the North's nuclear and ballistic missiles program.

Nebenzia said the Russian Federation and other members of the North Korea Sanctions Committee "expressed a number of comments which were reviewed correctly by the Experts, and then taken on board, when they transferred the report to the Security Council".

Seoul's Ambassador to the UN Cho Tae-yul said the South Korean Government expected "significant progress" to come from the upcoming meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this week.

"Lying, cheating, and rogue behavior have become the new norm of the Russian culture", she said.

Reacting to the accusations by Haley, Russia's United Nations ambassador, Vassily Nebenzia, said Moscow insisted on having the report amended as it had become "hostage to the vision of Washington" and did not take into account Russia's views.

US documents sent to the Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea and obtained by AP cited 89 instances between January 1 and May 30 in which North Korean tankers likely delivered refined products "illicitly procured" via transfers from other ships at sea.

The United States on Monday accused Russian Federation of "cheating" on UN sanctions against North Korea with plans for a railway project, oil transfers and ongoing business dealings with Pyongyang.

"The Trump-Kim summit has set us on the path toward complete denuclearization", she said.

The Wall Street Journal on Sunday reported seeing the United Nations report on sanctions violations Haley mentioned.

The Security Council has remained united in imposing tougher and tougher sanctions on North Korea, but the differences over the experts' report mark a first dent in that unity.

Last month, Moscow held up the publication of the United Nations panel's report over differences about its contents.

"These actions are meant to stop the flow of illicit revenue to North Korea from overseas information technology workers disguising their true identities and hiding behind front companies, aliases, and third-party nationals", Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement. "And until we get there, we must not ease the powerful worldwide sanctions that are in place".

"Russia must cease its violations of North Korea sanctions".

Moscow's representative at the United Nations also said that it had not redacted a specific section on a Russian company breaking sanctions, but had instead made that part of the report confidential, meaning it will only be available to governments and not the general public.

"What can we expect when Pyongyang is being called upon to unconditionally agree to comply with all of the conditions against a guarantee of empty promises", Nebenzia asked, saying the U.S. has broken promises to Tehran and pulled out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

Noting difficulties in US-North Korea negotiations, Nebenzia stressed that negotiations are "a two-way street".

Nebenzya went on to say that there is still a "prospect" of the two Koreas signing a peace treaty to formally "end the state of war on the Korean Peninsula".

Russian Federation followed up by accusing Washington of attempting to influence the Panel of Experts' work, saying the US was "disseminating lies" and trying to "deceive the worldwide community".

Chinese Ambassador Mao Zhaoxu said "confrontation is a dead-end" and diplomacy must be "actively" promoted to bring an end to the standoff on the Korean peninsula.

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